The Panasonic AG-AC160 PAL AVCCAM HD Handheld Camcorder is a high-definition workhorse of a professional handheld camcorder that integrates seamlessly with a wide range of current broadcast video systems in place around the world. With an integrated 22x zoom lens and a 1/3-type 3MOS three-element imager, the camera captures AVCHD video to two SD/SDHC/SDXC card slots as 1080p30, 1080i60, filmic 1080p24, and 720p60. For creative slow-/fast-motion effects, overcranking and undercranking are possible at a variety of rates between 2 and 60 frames per second.
The AC160 features Panasonic’s professional-level PS implementation of AVCHD. It’s a top-quality choice at a max rate of 28 Mb/s; several other data rates will conserve card space as you capture hours of HD video. For projects that require standard-def capture, the AC160 has you covered with DV recording, which can then be output via its 6-pin IEEE 1394 FireWire port. For high-def output, the HD-SDI terminal puts out HD signals including 1920 x 1080 at 24PsF.
The Panasonic AG-AC160 offers a bevy of other professional-level features, including dual XLRs with phantom power, SMPTE time-code generation, gamma settings for seven different scenarios, and manual control rings for iris, zoom, and focus. To monitor the status of all settings, and to perform critical focusing functions, the AVCCAM camcorder features both a high-quality 3.45″ LCD screen and a full-color LCoS 0.45″ viewfinder with 1, 226, 000 dots (852 x 480 x 3 [RGB]) of resolution.
Panasonic Optical Technology
The high-performance 22x zoom lens was designed specifically for professional HD video production. Sharing the wide-angle capability found in the DVX and HMC series, the lens offers some additional telephoto capability for a 28-616mm (35mm equivalent) zoom range. The lens combines 18 elements in 12 groups and adds an ultra-high refractive (UHR) glass element, a low-dispersion element, and aspheric elements – technologies that combine to raise the resolution. This 22x zoom lens covers a wide field of view, from wide-angle to telephoto, without a conversion lens
Manual Control Rings
Three manual rings – mechanical (cam-driven) zoom, focus, and iris – allow you to operate as if you’ve got an interchangeable-lens camcorder, for fine, tactile control over the parameters of the captured image
Optical Image Stabilization
To compensate for any shaking of the operator’s hand, the AC160 features an optical image stabilizer (OIS)
High-Sensitivity, Low-Noise 3MOS Image Sensor
The 1/3-type 2.2 Mp 3MOS sensor features the same Ultra Luminance Technology (ULT) that’s incorporated in Panasonic’s shoulder-mount P2 HD broadcast camcorders. This sensor maximizes the performance of the lens and the signal processing circuit in standard conditions
This can be assigned to a user button for digital zooms of 2x, 5x, and 10x. In combination with the optical zoom, this function provides a telephoto capability up to 220x
The AC160 features a four-position (OFF, 1/4 ND, 1/16 ND, 1/64 ND) optical neutral density filter wheel
18-Bit Digital Signal Processor
The Panasonic AG-AC160 high-performance 18-bit DSP handles rendering processes such as gamma and detail-enhancement functions with uncommon precision
Dynamic Range Stretch (DRS)
The DRS function automatically suppresses blocked shadows and blown highlights in scenes that involve wildly varying contrast levels (such as indoor vs. outdoor elements in the same frame). DRS estimates a gamma curve and knee slope to match the contrast of each pixel and applies them in real time, producing excellent gradation for each shade and minimizing blocked shadows and blown highlights
Seven-Mode Gamma for Rich Gradation
Drawing upon the technology of the high-end VariCam line, the AC160 features gamma functions for seven shooting scenarios, including two cinema modes: HD NORM (for standard HD recording), LOW (flattens out a high-contrast scene); SD NORM (for standard SD recording); HIGH (softens contrast and expands the tone of dark parts, making an image brighter); B.PRESS (sharpens the contrast compared to LOW); CINE-LIKE D (prioritizes dynamic range); and CINE-LIKE V (prioritizes contrast)
Other Camera Image Settings
Three values (A/B/Preset) of white balance are selectable with an auto-tracking white function. The preset can be set to 3200K, 5600K, and VARIABLE, which ranges between P2.4K and P9.9K. As with gamma, matrix setting includes a Cine-Like mode. H & V detail levels are adjustable, as are detail coring and skin-tone detail. That’s not all: chroma level, chroma phase, color temperature, and master pedestal are all adjustable as well. The camera offers four settings for knee point: Auto, Low, Mid, and High
Focus Assist Function